It’s been three years since Beck’s previous album Morning Phase was released and in many ways it was a perfect sequel to his 2002 album Sea Change. While his new album Colors still features the exceptional songwriting we all know him for, the album couldn’t sounds more different from anything he has ever done. He has injected his music with a huge dose of pop and the result, is brilliant.
The album opens with the title track, Colors, which really sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album. Some of my favourite Beck songs have been album openers and this song isn’t an exception. It’s a great track and you get a taste of what is to come on the rest of the album. The biggest change in sound, at least in my opinion, are the louder and more “dance” like drums which is a new direction. I wasn’t sure what I’d think to this new direction but it has won be over fast. Colors is followed by Seventh Heaven which took me a little while to get into compared to the other songs on the album. But it’s a song that grows on me more and more with every listen. It’s important to note here that even though Beck reveals a new sound on this album, his incredible songwriting is as good as it’s ever been. The chorus on Seventh Heaven is seriously infectious as well, easily my favourite part of the song.
- Seventh Heaven
- I’m So Free
- Dear Life
- No Distraction
- Dreams (Colors Mix)
- Up All Night
- Square One
- Fix Me
I’m So Free comes next which really sounds like a Foo Fighters song in the guitar only into. But when Beck comes in, it’s pure Beck. But there’s something about those chords that screams late 90’s Foo Fighters. And the chorus could almost be Weezer or The Rentals, especially with the addition of female backing vocals which were an essential to The Rentals’ sound in the mid-late 1990’s. Just a sublime song all round and easily my favourite on the whole album, although a number of others come very close. Exceptional on every level. Dear Life is the fourth song which was released as a single a few months ago. When it came out it reminded me a lot of old school Beck with the piano and the more traditional way of singing. I can imagine it fitting on his 2008 album Modern Guilt perfectly. The vocals, the piano, the chords. A beautiful song. No Distraction follows which sees Beck return to his new musical direction. Like Seventh Heaven, it’s taken me longer to get into compared to the rest of the songs but Beck’s ability to write a catchy chorus shines through brightly here. The whole album is full of chorus after chorus that will get permanently stuck in your head.
The next song is Dreams which was originally released as a single on the 15th June 2015 but the version of the song on this album is a new mix. The song is enjoyable but I remember being shocked when I first heard it. It wasn’t like anything I’d heard before from Beck but in the middle of this album it makes perfect sense and sounds great. By itself I’m not sure I get it as much, but as the centerpiece of Colors everything comes together brilliantly. I also really like the new mix. Wow follows which was released as a single a year after Dreams, on the 2nd June 2016. I remember really loving this when it came out and being more receptive to the new musical direction. It hit me a lot better than Dreams did at the time of release. On this album it sounds great.
Up All Night was released as a single a month or so before the album dropped and I cannot get enough of it. The song manages to capture Beck’s new musical direction while also holding a firm grip on his past sounds. The result is a musical spectacle and one of Beck’s best songs, period. Square One is the second to last song and sounds like a lost song from his 1999 album Midnite Vultures. It has that same sound and feel and the way Beck sings is extremely reminiscent of that album. He sang a particular way on Midnite Vultures which he hadn’t song before or hasn’t done since, until now. It’s not the only song that could fit on another album though, the last track Fix Me would fit on Sea Change or Morning Phase effortlessly. This song is definitely features more of a traditional Beck sound and it’s one hell of a way to end the album. We don’t know how long Beck will continue in this new direction, but perhaps the last song featuring his “normal” sound signals he’ll return to it on his next release. But that’s complete and utter speculation on my behalf.
Overall I really love this album. When I first listened to it I wasn’t totally sure because of the new direction and remembering how I felt when Dreams came out, but it didn’t take me long to be totally and utterly won over. In fact it took me just one listen. I put aside the feelings I felt when Dreams came out and listened to what was in front of me. The new mix of Dreams really improves the song but it’s the other tracks on this album that makes Colors absolutely exceptional. Beck has done it again. Another musical masterpiece!